Indian television

Channel surfing: When light snacking, don’t forget to look at the label

Lifestyle shows don’t offer much of an escape from biases and clichés.

The news is never good news anymore, so I can’t blame you if you’re also flicking channels on a weekend, looking for something light to snack on. Appointment viewing is passé, but there is something liberating about choosing from among a pre-selected list and not having any control on what’s on there. Also, sometimes binge-watching gets tiring.

So if Gotham is my guilty pleasure when I’m feeling particularly brain-fried (and I’ll blame whichever airline it was that introduced me to the show last year), Masterchef Australia has more than its share of everybody hooked – it’s beautifully shot, choreographed and the in-built drama, no less.

One morning, after a small dose of Masterchef Australia, I tuned in to the Tara Sharma show, having only belatedly discovering her online on YouTube. I had enjoyed one or two episodes and been impressed by the production quality, not to mention the star power – she always seems to get some celebrity guest or the other. This should be fun, I thought.

I’m not sure what’s getting lost in transition from YouTube to Star World, but it was saccharine stuff.
I tuned in just as there was a “Pampers challenge” with two men, a woman and three teddy bears. No prizes for guessing who won that challenge? (The woman, who turns out to be the very talented Genesia Alves). At that point, I missed regular astons, and didn’t know who was who.

The hostess earnestly asked her three guests to give tips or advice to others on parenting. (Here’s a tip, gratis: Don’t do it! No one wants your unsolicited advice.)

But loosely paraphrased, Alves said, “Give the dad the opportunity to see how much fun it is.” One of the male guests said something along the lines of, “For every father, make a good team with your wife, don’t doubt your wife. Also, something about how that partnership is what every child needs.”

I would never have known.

That question again, but a different interrogator

I flicked back to another channel to ease my nerves, coming back only to see part of Sharma’s interview with Sonam Kapoor, who in the teaser undoubtedly piqued viewer interest with a story of being a brat on set as a child. She threw a tantrum because her shoelaces came untied, so she insisted on sitting on dad Anil Kapoor’s lap and settled down only after he tied the laces for her.

I’m sure the rest of the film crew appreciated that.

Normally, I’m quite a fan of Kapoor’s candour and charming laugh. So I enjoyed hearing about how she’s been independent from a young age. She was apparently living at home but after 18 didn’t get an allowance from her father. She’s suitably vague on whether her parents were strict – they didn’t allow to her to do some stuff, but if she really wanted to do it, she could. And she appreciates the boundaries and lessons. Her message to all daughters out there is to listen to your parents, learn from their mistakes as well as their triumphs, pointing out that as kids we tend to think we know better, and focus on their mistakes.

That’s true, enough.

But just when I thought we’d find some suitably anodyne words with which to wind down, Sharma asks Kapoor, “Do you have maternal instincts? Would you like to be a mom, soon-ish?”

She’s met with that trademark tinkle of laughter and again, suitably vaguely, I’m not even married yet. She’s asked, “What kind of husband would you like?”

I’m almost convinced that the range of furniture on sale from PepperFry (the main sponsor of the show) includes various models – the hunk; the intellectual; the fellow actor. Sadly, no such display was brought out. Kapoor giggled a bit and talked about wanting to be married at some point, and also said that whenever she does have a child, she will be a hands-on mother and not be one of those mums who delegate all that motherly work, or what-not. Sigh.

Considering how much grief and brouhaha there was about Rajdeep Sardesai asking Sania Mirza that question – rightfully so, to some extent, as he himself realised while apologising go her – why is it alright when it’s women asking other women? Or do we really not expect much more from our actors and celebrities than to play that ultimate role, mother- or wife-in-waiting?

Amrita Tripathi is an author and recovering news junkie. She can be reached @amritat.

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It’s the new year and it’s already time to plan your next holiday

Here are some great destinations for you to consider.

Vacation planning can get serious and strategic. Some people swear by the save and splurge approach that allows for one mini getaway and one dream holiday in a year. Others use the solo to family tactic and distribute their budget across solo trips, couple getaways and family holidays. Regardless of what strategy you implement to plan your trip, the holiday list is a handy tool for eager travellers. After having extensively studied the 2018 holiday list, here’s what we recommend:

March: 10 days of literature, art and culture in Toronto

For those you have pledged to read more or have more artistic experiences in 2018, Toronto offers the Biblio-Mat, the world’s first randomising vending machine for old books. You can find the Biblio-Mat, paper artefacts, rare books and more at The Monkey’s Paw, an antiquarian bookseller. If you can tear yourself away from this eclectic bookstore, head over to The Public Library in Toronto for the Merril Collection of over 72000 items of science fiction, fantasy magic realism and graphic novels. With your bag full of books, grab a coffee at Room 2046 – a café cum store cum studio that celebrates all things whimsical and creative. Next, experience art while cycling across the 80km Pan Am Path. Built for walking, running, cycling and wheeling, the Pan Am Path is a recreational pathway that offers a green, scenic and river views along with art projects sprinkled throughout the route. You can opt for a guided tour of the path or wander aimlessly for serendipitous discoveries.

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June: 10 days of culinary treats, happy feet and a million laughs in Chicago

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Chicago in June is pleasant and warm enough to explore the outdoors and what better way to soak in the sunshine, than by having a picnic at the Maggie Daley Park. Picnic groves, wall climbing, mini golf, roller blading – the park offers a plethora of activities for individuals as well as families.

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Since 1964, the Notting Hill Carnival has been celebrating London’s Caribbean communities with dancing, masquerade and music ranging from reggae to salsa. Watch London burst into colours and sparkle at the Notting Hill Carnival. Home to Sherlock Holmes and Charles Dickens Museum, London is best experienced by wandering through its tiny streets. Chance encounters with bookstores such as Foyles and Housemans, soaking in historic sights while enjoying breakfast at Arthur’s Café or Blackbird Bakery, rummaging the stalls at Broadway market or Camden Market – you can do so much in London while doing nothing at all.

The Museum of Brand, Packaging and Advertising can send you reminiscing about those old ads, while the Clowns Gallery Museum can give you an insight in clown-culture. If you’d rather not roam aimlessly, book a street-art tour run by Alternative London or a Jack the Ripper Tour.

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About 16 km south of the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and St. Rose Parkway in Henderson, lies a visual spectacle. Seven Magic Mountains, an art installation by Ugo Rondinone, stands far away from the wild vibe that people expect in Las Vegas and instead offers a sense of wonder. Imagine seven pillars of huge, neon boulders, stacked up against one another stretched towards the sky. There’s a lot more where that came from, in Las Vegas. Captivating colour at the permanent James Turrell exhibit in Louis Vuitton, outdoor adventures at the Bootleg Canyon and vintage shopping at Patina Décor offer experiences that are not usually associated with Vegas. For that quintessential Vegas show, go for Shannon McBeath: Absinthe for some circus-style entertainment. If you put the holiday list to use, you can make it for the risefestival – think thousands of lanterns floating in the sky, right above you.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of British Airways and not by the Scroll editorial team.